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Scale insects

Very small insects with a size of a few millimetres, which represent a suborder of the large group of plant aphids (such as aphids and cicadas). The females, which are usually wingless in contrast to the males, attack the leaves, fruits and bark of various plants, including vines. They are mainly found in warmer areas, in Central Europe mainly the cup scale aphids (Coccidae). They have piercing-sucking mouthparts with stinging bristles with which they feed by piercing plant tissue. This leads to growth disorders, discolouration, wilting and even death. The animals also excrete honeydew, which is often colonised by black soot fungi. The insects develop from the egg through up to five larval stages and a nymph to the sexual animals, which then have the typical protective cover (shield). The species Planococcus and Pseudococcus also transmit viruses that cause leaf roll disease and corky bark disease (see Rugose Wood-Complex).

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